Thank you, Drew, for that introduction and for working with Joe and Dave Orlando and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to make the vaccine clinic for Baltimore-area manufacturers a reality.
And thanks to all the employees at Marlin, Orlando Products and manufacturers nationwide who have literally rolled up their sleeves to get armed against COVID-19.
We wanted to be here because this is such a powerful example of how vaccine manufacturers are helping all manufacturers, and all Americans, get our lives back.
This is how we save our economy. This is how we protect our loved ones. This…this is our shot…to end this pandemic. And manufacturers stand behind the COVID-19 vaccines and encourage all of our fellow Americans to get them.
The vaccine is also one important reason why manufacturers see the light at the end of the tunnel leading to the next, post-pandemic world.
Take a look at the NAM’s quarterly outlook survey. In the second quarter of last year, with the pandemic bearing down on us, only 34% of manufacturers reported a positive outlook. Now, manufacturers are incredibly optimistic, with nearly 88% saying they have a positive outlook for their businesses.
Now, part of that optimism comes from how well our industry has embraced innovation and change. Investments in digital transformation—what we call Manufacturing 4-dot-oh—have made it possible for teams to be productive…even when they have to be socially distant.
Advances in augmented reality, virtual reality and digital twins, for example…they allow manufacturers to analyze and troubleshoot their products without needing to interact physically.
We did all of that while remaking shop floors to produce critically needed supplies to fight COVID-19.
In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Marlin Steel reworked their shop floor, right here, so that they could answer an emergency order for test tube racks for COVID-19 testing—something they’d never made before.
W.L. Gore, the makers of Gore-Tex in nearby Delaware…they donated their fabric laminate for protective gowns and supplied their material to make N95 masks…helping doctors breathe easier.
And Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, invented a portable clean room – a small glass enclosure that shields health care workers from patients.
And iconic automakers nationwide stepped up to produce face shields and ventilators.
This past year changed everything. How we work. How we interact. How we develop medicines. How we communicate.
We came to have a deeper appreciation for America’s teachers and everyone who works in health care, grocery stores, delivery and, of course, manufacturing.
And in the middle of all of this, the pandemic laid bare many economic and racial inequities.
The story of the pandemic isn’t unlike previous crises this nation has faced over the past century. Depression. World Wars. A Cold War and the Space Race. And, yes, of course the Spanish flu. The trials we endure force us to innovate solutions that get us through those difficult times and make life so much better than before—and it’s manufacturers who drive that innovation.
That’s why our industry isn’t focused on just going back to the way things were. We want to build a better world—one that offers an abundance of opportunity to every American.
To do that…means focusing on tomorrow…not yesterday.
It means investing boldly in the infrastructure of the future, without going back to the archaic tax policies of the past. America can lead the world in modern infrastructure—everything from roads to electric grids to 5G—and we can keep a tax code that allows us to continue creating manufacturing jobs right here in America.
It means recognizing the critical role of research and development—and empowering more of that through tax incentives and by rejecting top-down controls on lifesaving pharmaceutical products.
Building this next world also means strengthening manufacturing supply chains so that when a crisis does hit, Americans won’t face empty shelves…or worry about whether they can buy everything from the medicines they need to the cars they want. That requires incentivizing investment, expanding export opportunities and maintaining access to reliable sources of American energy.
It means building a more diverse and inclusive workforce—because when we do, we are all better off. Manufacturers have pledged to welcome any American with drive and ambition—especially those who were displaced during the pandemic and those who have faced injustice.
We have about half a million jobs open in manufacturing right now. And according to a study out this month from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce and education partner, 2.1 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled by 2030 if we don’t inspire more people to pursue high-paying manufacturing careers. That’s why our Creators Wanted campaign with The Manufacturing Institute is out there, state by state, helping displaced and emerging workers find their path into our industry.
And to keep employer–employee relationships strong, we just need to say “no” to federal legislation that would impose card-check on our workplaces. But also, once and for all, we need to say “yes” to comprehensive immigration reform. Dreamers, by the way, have been frontline workers in this crisis, in health care as well as manufacturing. They deserve to have confidence in their future. And literally, in so many cases, we owe them our lives.
To do all of this, we’re ready to work with anyone to get the job done. Again, think about this vaccination center across the street—and so many other mass vaccination sites in stadiums…and houses of worship…and convention centers. They represent the collaboration of committed scientists, dedicated manufacturers and focused government leaders. This shows what’s possible when we work together toward the common good.
So, let’s apply that spirit to the generational challenges that we face. The need for more talent in manufacturing. The opportunity gap. Infrastructure of the future. … Addressing joblessness in our country. Solving environmental challenges in our world. Restoring faith in our democracy and our institutions. Ending this pandemic and preventing the next.
Manufacturers simply do not accept the notion that anything is impossible. If we can now develop vaccines in less than a year or remake our shop floors in a week, we can build the world we want to see. Manufacturers are not victims of history…never have been. Because we literally build the future.
Right now, the calendar says it’s springtime. And as we get more shots into arms, reunite with loved ones, venture safely into public spaces, and yes, get our workplaces and schools back up to full capacity, our country is also emerging into a season of renewal.
So, what is the state of manufacturing in this season…in this American Spring?
We turned to the women and men who make things in America to answer that question.
(Manufacturing team members from across America share their views on the state of the industry.)
The state of our industry is growing stronger with each and every vaccination. Manufacturers in America are determined to see us through this crisis, and to build a world better than any we’ve known before.
And to the innovators and creators who will make it possible, thank you. Thank you. We owe you so much. Truly…our nation…indeed, our world…owes you everything.
Now,…let’s all make the most of our shot.